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Nature-Inspired Creativity




Sparks of creativity can happen in quiet moments of being, in between active stages of doing. The challenge is to make time for it. I know this to be true, and yet, hours, days, and weeks can fly by without stopping to listen and receive. I’ve been busy, I tell myself, knowing full well that “busy” is just one more distraction on a list of many that keeps me from connecting with the natural world and all sentient beings.

 

So in the coldest part of winter, I placed my meditation cushion in front of the open sliding glass door, lit a candle, and sat. I sat with the patter of rain and the singing wind as she moved through the trees. I sat with the sound of the river rushing along the banks, over boulders and logs on her way to the bay and then the ocean. I sat with the calls of Stellar jay, black-capped chickadee, varied thrush, and junco. I sat with the scent of drenched and muddy earth. I sat with the low clouds and the even lower light.

 

I let all of it in. Instead of building barriers of protection against cold, wet, and discomfort, I opened to the total experience of the stunning orchestra, then inquired to whomever was listening, what can I offer to this place of beauty?

 

The answer came swift and clear: bring in the essence of all the places I’ve called home and weave it into an offering for the land.

 

Over a week, I collected a handful of sword fern and narrow red alder twigs from the property. I had an idea of what I wanted, but no real experience in making it. It helped that I was guided by gratitude and generosity instead of perfectionism. I fashioned a frame out of branches and coir, then I alternated fern and alder and whispered to the piece, I offer the energy and wisdom of all the places that have held and taught me what it means to be Nature. The act of creating–moving my hands across this “document”–allowed me to weave in my memories of mountain, lake, beach, desert, rainforest, glacier and ocean, to present a sort of biography in a language, I hope, the land would understand. I didn’t know for sure.


 

When I finished weaving, I hung the tapestry on a tall Douglas fir in the backyard. Underneath it, I set a log for an altar and added a statue of a buddha that had lived under a strawberry madrone tree in the last home, an abalone shell that had been my parents, and various found objects. I lit a candle, stood quietly, and listened to the river, wind, and birds. Then I whispered, please accept my gift.

 

I tell this story because I hope to encourage you to make time for your own quiet moments to listen and be inspired by what the land is calling you to create. Plant a tree, grow vegetables, spread flower seeds across your garden, or weave a humble imperfect “document”. Any one of these offerings can be a bridge to the land and our artistic nature self.

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